UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 22, 2009

THE IMPORTANCE OF UNIONS IN THE LAST ELECTION

Matt Witt, The Work Site - In the November elections, there were some key constituencies that voted against change – white voters, veterans, gun owners, churchgoers.

But if voters in those same demographic groups were part of a union, they voted overwhelmingly for candidates who support not only workers' rights but also environmental protection, equal opportunity, affordable health care, quality education, or other progressive causes you care about.

Here's what a leading polling firm, Hart Research, found:

- Obama lost among white men by 16 points. But among white men who belong to a union, he won by 18 points – a 34 point swing.

- He lost by 7 points among white women, but won white women in unions by 47 points -- a 54 point swing.

- He lost among veterans by 9 points, but won union veterans by 25.

- Among gun owners he lost by 25 points, yet won by 12 if they were in a union – a 37 point difference.

- And he lost by 50 points among white churchgoers, voters, but actually won by 1 point if they had a union. . .

Why do union members vote so differently than their counterparts in the same demographic group who have no union?

- They are more focused on the common ground of economic issues.

- They get information from their union about the candidates' stands and records.

- They are more accustomed to sticking together across racial or ideological lines for the broad benefit of working people.

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